Atlantic presents this raucous retelling of the rise and fall of Pasadena’s most groundbreaking 80s rockers told through the foggy lens of a lonely, out of work MTV-VJ. More…
"Eddie and Dave" is a gender-bending new play by Amy Staats ("Miles for Mary," Atlantic’s Tow Playwright-in-Residence) about hubris, friendship, family, fame, musical genius, and what happens when the person you need is the one you find most irritating.
“Staats invites her audience into a snow globe filled with glitter and cocaine to recount the heroic journey of the band Van Halen, resulting in 100 minutes that are indeed as magical as they are ridiculous...She straddles the line between Bertolt Brecht and Tennessee Williams, imparting wisdom while navigating the murky waters of memory. And thanks to the committed performances of this five-person cast, we're willing to go along." Full Review
“Staats’s hilarious, unexpectedly touching and altogether delightful reimagining of one of classic rock’s last, best epic rivalries...The gender twist is a clever conceit on a couple of levels; first, it allows...Bordelon and Hill to revel in the hirsute crooner’s diva-like qualities—also emphasized by the scrumptiously over-the-top, divinely tacky costumes...’Eddie and Dave’ is...a requiem for a bygone time, pre-reality TV...And before snark, which is refreshingly absent in this play.” Full Review
“Very funny show...None of the actors attempts to impersonate the famous people they portray, instead turning them into eccentric characters who say and do a lot of dumb but endearing stuff...Gleefully directed by Margot Bordelon, 'Eddie and Dave' is a highly original mini-soap-rock opera that would delight Wayne and Garth, a fun and snarky account of a group...Still not a Van Halen fan, but I definitely have a newfound admiration for their wild and wacky tale." Full Review
“Staat’s fun and frisky comedy...Women are scripted to play all the male music stars, a choice that makes the audience think about the role gender plays...Thurber does a great job of providing melodies that suggest classic tunes...But ‘Eddie and Dave’ doesn't appear to be a jukebox musical in the making. Its formidable strength is in the garage band attitude used to tell the age-old tale of how clashing egos can both create art and mess it all up.” Full Review
“Staats’ new bio-comedy, ‘Eddie and Dave’, makes spectacular use of its female actors in male roles...Under Bordelon’s super-sharp direction. They startle us by being the little boy that is at the heart of every rock-and-roll star...These female actors also have that androgynous thing down pat...Staats hasn’t found quite the right ending for ‘Eddie and Dave’. The comedy and the chaos tend to dribble off in the last 10 minutes of this 90-minute play.” Full Review
“Staats’s unabashedly goofy rock bioplay...Affection for music and the ridiculous past are the columns on which Staats has built her comedy...The music hews perilously close to Van Halen’s classic bangers...The attempts to take something that feels bootleg and turn it into something...leave the play a little muted. Thankfully, the gender-swapped performances go to 11...This big-hearted show sounds too much like an electric guitar—right before you plug it into the amp.” Full Review
“Staats has fun with her telling of the band’s journey, and she can’t be bothered with accuracy...The performances are campy and over-the-top...The use of drag heightens the camp...and reminds us we’re not supposed to get too emotionally involved...Bordelon maintains a sense of Brechtian alienation throughout the piece, which reminds us to laugh, have fun, and not take anything too seriously...Those who prefer sincerity and pathos over camp might leave wanting more.” Full Review
“The story is familiar...except Staats sparks it up by flipping the gender dynamic...Staats’ dialogue lampoons the bro-babble of rich, entitled white men while also keeping the band in a loving embrace...Parts of Staats’ script are amusing, though most of the jokes didn’t land...but when the play...speaks about the experience of fandom, about aligning life experiences with what you were listening to at the time, it stretches beyond its comedic confines and becomes something profound.” Full Review
“Larky if bloated sketch of a bio-comedy...Based on the original guitarist and lead singer of the chart-topping band Van Halen...The female cast members...appear to be having a high old time finding the testosterone within their characters’ teased hair...Initially, this is pretty funny...Ultimately, the comedy is too blunt and repetitive to sustain the 90 uninterrupted minutes...There is throughout a mind-bending glee in watching women taking on the extravagant guises of hot-dog rock ’n’ roll... Full Review
"Staat's storytelling gimmick of using that MTV narrator works well to make her semi-biographical story quite colorful and amusing...Bordelon's moves us smoothly through the band's back story...These positives notwithstanding...Unless you love this band as much as Staats does, ‘Eddie and Dave’ is too imperfect...Even at just 90 minutes, it feels...too long. The only real reason to ignore my reservations and enjoy it is the novelty of the gender switching casting.” Full Review
"Staats has written a sincere but simple love letter, a cheerful act of fan fiction that bubbles along enjoyably enough without ever really becoming more than the sum of its parts...The twist...is that the boys...are all embodied by women...At times it’s great fun to watch the women...At other times, the cross-gender gambit leads to easy joke territory...There’s lots of good humor...but...there’s also not much there there...It’s striving for something bigger, but it never quite makes the Jump.” Full Review
“A spoofy treatment of rock musical band Van Halen...The switched gender ploy is cute as a Facebook puppy video for a while...But for all of the comedy’s 90 intermissionless minutes it’s not really a barrel of sustained laughs and chuckles...After about 20, maybe even 30 of those 90 minutes, we’ve seen enough of Staats’ guitar miming and Hill’s strutting as the full-of-himself Roth and Salem’s amusing go at femininity.” Full Review
“Staats' new play may prove a pleasant diversion...Or you can stay home and watch Netflix...The spin Staats and Bordelon put on this story...Is that the men...are all portrayed by women...What's the point? It's a valid question that's only partially answered...which wears out its welcome...Casting women to play these men is...A fresh sensibility that allows us to see those characters in a new light. One just wishes Staats' characters were more interesting that they are in ‘Eddie and Dave’.” Full Review
"I wanted to like ‘Eddie and Dave’ and was hoping for quirkier and more slicing depictions...Although the cast clearly has a ball with the play, the text doesn’t go much further than skin-deep, resulting in a tiresome comic sketch that feels cartoonish and way too long...Bordelon and her cast try their best to bring buoyancy to the piece and maximize its playfulness. But at the end of the day, Staats plays it too safe with this one.” Full Review
“Perhaps Staats is into minimalism. Maybe that is why only first names...are used in the title of this quasi bio satire..Maybe that is why we hear only brief riffs of their greatest hits...And maybe that is why the play’s 37 short scenes go fleeting by with so few laughs, so little gravitas and virtually no variance in tone...Under uninspired...direction...This would-be rock and roll bad boy of a show has nowhere to run.” Full Review
“A laughter-deprived, semi-musical biodrama…Its strings fray, though, when it's performed…in the aggressively pumped-up manner of a cartoon-like spoof, now and then palely reminiscent of…'This Is Spinal Tap.'…Of the play's principal liberties, we can begin with its use of only three members of the quartet…Even more questionable…is Staats's choice of having all but one character played by women. The broad performances are engaging only up to a point, and it's one that comes very soon.” Full Review
"Why are the show makers telling me this story? I haven’t been able to figure out the answer to that question...Little more than a shallow 'Behind the Music'-style account of the drugs, sex and rock and roll that undid the partnership between Eddie Van Halen...and David Lee Roth...The thing that really sets 'Eddie and Dave' apart from the recent rash of rock biographies around is that all the male characters are portrayed by women...A comedy skit that had overstayed its welcome." Full Review
“When a production exhibits a little gender bending, there should be a valid explanation...In the case of ‘Eddie and Dave’...It seems to be purely for fun, adding a bit of desperately needed humor to the banal script...It is not a satire and it is not funny enough to be a spoof...The cast does what it can with the material...The result is somewhat of an overlong television comedy sketch that does not include any music from the legendary rock and roll band Van Halen.” Full Review
See it if you want to be entertained by a story of old rockers - Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. The gender switch is brilliant.
Don't see it if you cannot abide plays where women play men and men play women. Also, if you are sensitive to loud music.
See it if You loved Van Halen & are curious about the group’s history & various comebacks, How bands break up &!whatever happened to David Lee Roth?
Don't see it if You don’t like cross gender casting, not a fan of rock history or music, don’t care about Van Halen or Roth, don’t like absurd comedy
See it if You love rock music & wink at attendant, life craziness that's a part of music icons. Super to see the talented women play these guys!
Don't see it if You hate rock music, and any plays that featured cross-gender portrayals. You truly enjoy established musical theater.
See it if for some silly fun. Will get to know these rockers even if you don't know anything about them. Energetic and extravagant.
Don't see it if you can't surrender to silly. Or can't stand rock. Or can't take gender reversal acting.
See it if You want to see a playwright take a chance and hit a homerun!
Don't see it if You are going to try to analyze this with a magnifying glass because you want to see a serious or accurate portrayal of Van Halen’s career
See it if Detailed drag parody (satirical gender role-reversal) of rift between VH bros., and peacock Diamond Dave. Injection of drag Val Bertinelli.
Don't see it if MTV generation demographic-specific.Quiet stadium rock bio. Only samples of 3 songs.Need to ably identify a VJ. Unwanted tufts of body hair.
Also Playwright doubles as lead Van Halen brother.
See it if You want to have a fun evening. I had no idea that this play was about, but I learned a lot about Van Halen, and laughed a lot.
Don't see it if You don’t like gender bending roles. The male roles are played by women and Valerie Bertinelli is played by a man.
See it if you're nostalgic for 1980s MTV culture, were a Van Halen or David Lee Roth fan, or enjoy weird quirky shows.
Don't see it if you don't like quirky plays which switch the gender roles of characters, have no interest in pop culture of 1980s, or want a serious play
See it if Still want your MTV? A fun look at Van Halen, the success, failures, personal "highs" and lows made all the better by the gender switching.
Don't see it if You expect a story about rockers to be a musical.
See it if you like fun, theatrical, weird, stylized comedies that remind you how playful theater can be.
Don't see it if you're looking for some realism. You won't find it here. (That doesn't mean you won't find honest performances!)
See it if Over-the-top humorous take on the rock band Van Halen told through a MTV VJ narrator with gender role reversal, outrageous costumes & hair
Don't see it if you want something serious, want Van Halen's music (only a few snippets) & don't want something that can seem like an extended skit
See it if You enjoy a unique story about the pop scene performed by an all female cast. Very cleverly performed and unexpectedly interesting & clever.
Don't see it if You don't care anything about Eddie Van Halen & David Lee Roth's shenanigans or don't know about their talents and music.
See it if you're up for an evening of some silly, over-the-top entertainment. The cast displays enthusiasm and the end result is enjoyable.
Don't see it if you're looking for something serious. Although one does gain some insight in the long-lasting Eddie van Halen/David Lee Roth rift.
See it if You’ve followed Van Halen over the years and would enjoy talented actresses acting out the highlights, with some recorded music & no singing
Don't see it if You haven’t followed the band’s antics. I would have preferred a mash-up of acting, videos, lip synching, to break up the story
See it if you're looking for light fare with a sense of humor & enjoy watching actors having a great time; Omer Abbas Salem is particularly good.
Don't see it if you want something meaty and/or serious; the play is light and fun but the novelty wears thin after about 1/2 hour; music comes in snippets.
See it if You like Van Halen and want to know more about the band and its members. You appreciate women playing male roles and vice versa.
Don't see it if You prefer less campy plays with better acting and more thought provoking.
See it if you yearn for the 80s, want to see something different, or need a few good laughs caused by a new kind of camping it up
Don't see it if you don't have a fondness for any kind of Rock, need your characters played straight, or can't find humor in life.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies